©InfoMarried at a young age, Ranju Taman soon fell pregnant and gave birth to her first son, now aged four and disabled. A year ago, Ranju lived with her husband’s family. She was a small-scale community trader, purchasing food items from the market and selling within the community.
Ranju, 25, lives in Sejepa, a small village that lies near the Khola river, in Panchthar district. Due to the lack of health facilities in her village, Ranju and her husband decided she would travel to the city, Kathmandu, to get treatment for their disabled son.
When Ranju returned from the city six months later, she found her long absence had created huge conflict within the family. Ranju, her husband and son were forced to leave the place they’d called home and with that, she also lost her small business.
Red Cross programme
Ranju says: “I felt so sad and we had no support but we tried to make the best of a bad situation. We had a little money saved and constructed a small hut, but it leaked when it rained. We protected our hut using tarpaulin and borrowed some money from my parents so I could set up a small stall outside my hut.”
When Ranju met a Red Cross worker, who told her about a training programme launched in her village to help the community reduce the risk of disasters, she was curious to find out more.
“I attended a community gathering and found out I could receive a small loan from the Red Cross programme to start a livelihood activity and earn money – if I became a community committee member and made a contribution of 50 rupees [67p] towards the community emergency fund,” Ranju explains. “I discussed this opportunity with my husband and immediately became a member of the community committee. Then I was able to take out an income generation loan.”
Investing in small business
Ranju received 2,000 rupees (£27) from the community emergency fund, which she invested in extending her small business. “I spent some of the loan on the stall and the rest on kitchen materials,” Ranju explains. “I now make 15,000 rupees [£200] every month from selling food items and make a profit of 1,500 rupees [£20]. Now, I have started repaying the loan from my parents, which I plan to repay in full.
“I get regular advice from the disaster risk reduction unit, on how to extend my business and good business management. From this experience, I’ve learned even a small sum of money can change lives if invested properly.
“I hope with good management my business will continue to do well. My dream is to treat my sick son and then for him to be educated. I know that we can do many things if we generate ideas and people shouldn’t have to face problems alone.”
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